Letter: Shrewd Danes still hold back European tide

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The Independent Online
YOUR leader 'Canute was a Good Thing' (28 June) suggests that the story of King Canute and the waves was 'Norman propaganda'. In fact, it has been stood on its head during this century, with the result that almost everyone who has heard of Canute thinks him foolish rather than wise. What the ancient tale actually told was that his courtiers tried to flatter him that so great a king could even hold back the rising of the tide. He took them with him to the shore precisely in order to expose their absurdity.

Now the original message of 'successful leaders recognise their limits' has been subtly shifted to 'high office can lead to delusions of power'. Ironically, the Danes of today, as shrewd as their ancestors, have sent both messages to Jacques Delors.

Nicolas Hawkes